Saturday, October 11, 2008

Economic Idiocy

We made it into Town this morning, for some errands I'd been glibly looking forward to all week. And while we woke to barely a skiff of snow, the closer we got to town, the more of it there was. They're calling for more, possibly. But at least I now have 50 lbs of oatmeal (for $30! That used to cost me $16, maybe) and enough fabric to keep busy until Christmas. I struck out on what I wanted most to find... Last year I found some nice quilter's premium cotton which is so lovely, and I hoped to find more. But either they're not discounting/clearancing such fabric any more, or it sells out at regular prices, because there was none to be found. I did find a few nice pieces, some buttons, and a couple patterns, though. We went to the home improvement warehouse and Hubby bought the parts to make me a fantastic and wondrous thing - I'll tell more about it later. In between searching for parking spaces and taking turns waiting in the car, I heard a lot of this week's talk-radio reruns, and I'm perplexed by something...

There's so much talk about the financial problems, the credit crunch, the world bank issues, and how 'commercial paper' has stopped flowing. And all of this is dire because everything runs on this stuff. Without credit no one buys cars, and the car dealer will go out of business. Without commercial paper businesses can't make payroll and farmers can't buy seed. And we won't even bring up the housing market.

Now, maybe this has been said before, but it seems like they're NOT talking about something pretty obvious. And that is, maybe an economy built on credit (and therefore debt) isn't very sound to start with. Maybe we need to pull back and take a closer look. Instead of blaming the now-limited 'commercial paper,' maybe the real problem is that businesses should manage (real, actual) money better. Maybe we should buy cars when we can afford them. Is this such a wild notion that it doesn't even hit the radar of the media? I don't have a problem living my life far more restrictively than others. I know people who make as much (or more) money as we, and are in debt enough to drown themselves (I know because their creditors call us, somehow!). Now, they're not living in fancy neighborhoods, but they're overstretched somewhere. Most people would advise people like this to 'stop buying on credit' and 'live within their means.' Does that sound radical? I don't think so. But expecting business (and government!) to do this isn't even an option.

And I'm afraid, like the families who think paying cash for a vehicle 'isn't even an option,' this economy will continue to struggle until we start building a new 'normal.'


Rachel said...

I agree. Our whole economy is based on people spending money they don't have.

The one thing I just can't get my mind around, though, is buying a house with cash. I know a few people do it, but I couldn't imaging doing it myself.

EllaJac said...

Rachel, I'm with you there... A house seems to be even a 'gray' area with DAve Ramsey. He advocates the 100% down approach, but supports a 15 yr. mortgage too.

We have a mortgage on our home. We were blessed to buy it when interest rates were rock-bottom in 2003, right before property values went sky-high in our area, and every step of the process was marked by the hand of God. I should blog the story sometime, so I don't forget it.

So - each person has to be sensitive to God's leading for him/her, and whether that means avoiding every kind of debt, or prayerfully considering debt for a home.

While I 'can't imagine' buying a house with cash either, what an exercise in faith! You never know what God intends...

Meghann said...

I agree as well...I was just commenting to my hubby tonight how its only in America that people who don't have any money drive super nice cars, or have nice homes. A very sad state to be in I think!

annie said...

I agree, both about how our economy is set up to fail and buying a home with a mortgage. for us, too, the Lord guided every step of the way. i think we would have been foolish to not buy our home when we did because it was so obvious that was the Lord's plan for us.

i also agree with the lack of good sales this weekend at the fabric store. i went today hoping to score some good clearance rack fabrics at further discount and some flannel on sale, but there wasn't much. it also didn't help it was sunday afternoon and all the ladies with their coupons were out and swarming a very poorly set up store. i may have given up too early. but from what i saw, even with my 50% off coupon there wasn't anything good. bummer.

would you mind posting another picture of the quilt you linked to? i'd like to see it close up and after a year of use! :) i'm making a (very small) quilt for a friend of mine's coming baby and want to see others' baby quilts.

EllaJac said...

Annie, I'll try to get a picture up sometime. Last winter the blanket was in daily use - being drug about and washed frequently - since springtime it's been primarily in the crib, so it's had it easy lately.

We must've shopped the same store. I've never seen one that has good setup or good customer service. I did buy 12 yards of 3/8" elastic with my 50 off coupon, and a yard of calico to make bloomers to match an outfit for baby with my 40 off.

Last year the flannel was .79/yd from 6-9 am or so the day after Thanksgiving. You have to be very motivated to leave the house on Black Friday, but it's the time to stock up on flannel, if need be. :)

annie said...

Wow! .79/yd! If I had a need for a lot of flannel, I'd so brave the stores the day after Thanksgiving. Actually, last year I went to the mall with my mom and mother-in-law and my five month old daughter and it wasn't so bad. I'm guessing the fabric store is probably madness, though, especially with the poor management. I just need about 2 1/2 yds (before the end of the month!) for the lining for a baby sling. I wonder what else I could use flannel for, since we don't really wear it.....are they useful for cloth pads? I've been thinking of making some of those (though it will be a while before I need them). Hm....79 cents really can't be beat.